Rematch of last years NECC Championship is Set Between Elms and Lesley in Women's Soccer

Rematch of last years NECC Championship is Set Between Elms and Lesley in Women's Soccer

Attleboro, Mass. - Top seeded Elms College won 3-0 over fifth seeded Bay Path University. Second Seeded Lesley University earned a come back victory over third seeded Regis College 3-1.

The Blazers advance and will host the Lynx for the NECC Championship set for Saturday November 5th at 1:00 p.m. 

#1 Elms 3, #5 Bay Path 0

CHICOPEE, Mass. – The top-seeded Elms College women's soccer team earned their fourth straight trip to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship game, defeating fifth-seeded Bay Path University, 3-0, in a semifinal match at Leary Field Wednesday night.

The Blazers (17-3-1) will host the title game against second-seeded Lesley University (15-4-3) at Leary Field Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Wildcats concluded play for the 2016 campaign.

The Blazers pressured the Wildcats through a majority of the first half, but a stout Wildcat defensive effort limited the scoring chances of the Blazers even though Elms held a 13-1 advantage in shots during the first half. The best scoring chance for the Blazers came in the 38th minute as junior Brie Voight possessed a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired a shot on net, which Bay Path freshman goalkeeper Caitlyn Esposito punched away with a diving stop. The sides remained scoreless heading into halftime.

Less than five minutes into the second half, Elms broke the scoreless tie as sophomore Christina Leonardo aunched a free kick towards the back post, where junior Jackie Soucia headed the ball to the front of the net for a header finish by sophomore Kelsey Shea to hand Elms a 1-0 lead with 40:25 to play.

In the 59th minute of play, the Wildcats had difficulty clearing a ball away from the net with one defender hitting the turf, allowing Voight to pick up the loose ball and deposit it into the back of the net, pushing Elms ahead 2-0. With 9:21 remaining on the clock, the Blazers put the game away as Shea elevated and delivered the header finish on a cross Soucia to send Elms to the 3-0 victory.

The Blazers dominated the shot column, 20-1, during the contest. Elms freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Molin pushed her single-season shutout record to 14 in the win, while Esposito made a match-high six saves for the Wildcats.

"We're really happy to come out with the win today," said Elms College Head Coach Sean Milbier. "You have to give Bay Path a lot of credit, they came in with a good game plan, tons of energy, and they played a really good first half. I thought we had a lot of chances, and our defense held up as usual and didn't give [Bay Path] too many chances. We had a great half time talk, came up with a game plan of our own, and buried three really nice goals. [Bay Path] changed their formation from the last time we saw them, so we made some adjustments to free up space for our offensive players to get involved more in the second half. We knew [Bay Path] would come here and play aggressive and hard, everyone that watched this game probably thought we'd win by a big margin, but we knew it was going to be a tough match. Resiliency has been a big character trait for our team and it showed today. We're glad to be hosting the championship at Leary Field, it's a place we know how to get ready, and getting mentally prepared for a match is easier at home than on the road. We love Leary Field and we look forward to being back here on Saturday."

Voight netted her 18th goal of the season, setting a new single-season record for Elms, breaking the mark set by Jennifer Killion in 2009. Soucia's two assists push her season total to 13, breaking her single-season record of 11, set last season.

Courtesy of Elms Athletics Communications.

#2 Lesley 3, #3 Regis 1 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. For the ninth time in as many seasons, the Lesley University women's soccer team will advance to the New England Collegiate Conference title match as the second-seeded Lynx came back to top third-seeded Regis College 3-1 tonight on Edward Field. After falling behind 1-0 in the opening half, the Lesley offense , led by a pair of goals from sophomore Jordan Mitchell, scored three times in the second to secure the comeback and punch their ticket to the finals.

The four-time defending champion Lynx will travel to top-seeded Elms College for a battle with the Blazers for the fourth straight season in the finals. Elms punched their ticket to the championship round with a 3-0 victory over Bay Path University earlier this evening. The Lynx have defeated the Blazers in each of the last there title matches by scores of 1-0, 3-0, and 1-0 (2-OT), respectively.

Regis started the scoring early as they capitalized on their first opportunity of the night. Junior Tais Salles saw her initial shot attempt knocked over the crossbar by Lesley keeper Lilly Donovan before Salles curled the ensuing corner kick off Donovan's outstretched hands and into the back of the net to stake the Pride an early 1-0 lead.

The Lynx offense held possession throughout the majority of the first half and continuously fired away at the Regis goal forcing keeper Amanda Matias to make several saves in the opening 45-minutes. The best opportunities for the hosts came in the 15th minute. Junior Karlie Rubin sent a corner to the head of classmate Samantha Turnbull, but her attempt bounced over the bar. Just one minute later, sophomore Samantha Bessey charged into the Pride box and connected with a header on a beautiful  cross from fellow sophomore Jordan Mitchell, but her attempt also sailed high.

The Lynx outshot their counterparts by an 11-3 margin in the opening half.

After the break, the Lynx used another opportunity from the corner to threaten to even the match when junior Maddy Kelly drove a header from the back post, again over the crossbar.

Lesley finally broke through in the 62nd minute as Mitchell one-timed a pass from classmate Xaelel Allen-Caballero and popped her right-footed shot over the diving Matias and into the right corner of the net. The goal was Mitchell's 11th of the season.

The Lynx struck again just 3:22 later when Rubin settled a pass from senior Tori Ramirez and blasted a laser from 20-yards out screaming into the back of the net to give the Lynx the 2-1 edge.

The offense continued to press on and nearly connected for a third marker just four minutes later when Ramirez released a right-footed rocket that clanged off the crossbar. Bessey charged in for the rebound but her attempt kicked wide of the nearside post.  

The Lynx would finally get their insurance marker as Mitchell and Allen-Caballero teamed up once again for a one-timed cross to put the game out of reach with the 3-1 lead.

Donovan turned away four shots in the win between the pipes for the hosts while Matias also made four saves in the loss.

Lesley outshot Regis 10-3 in the half and 21-5 overall in the match while holding a 6-3 edge in corner kicks.

Courtesy of Lesley Athletics Communications.

First Round – Saturday, October 29th

Game 1: #5 Bay Path University 3, #4 Southern Vermont College 2
Game 2: #3 Regis College 5, #6 Becker College 0
Game 3: #2 Lesley University 2, #7 Newbury College 0
Game 4: #1 Elms College 6, #8 Mitchell College 0

Semifinals – Wednesday, November 2nd

Game 5: #1 Elms 3, #5 Bay Path 0
Game 6: #2 Lesley 3, #3 Regis 1

Championship – Saturday, November 5th

Game 7: #2 Leslsey at  #1 Elms – 1:00 p.m.